Hello, what do we have here? A new facial recognition mobile app? Sure looks like it. The company is called Faced.me, and its upcoming app aims to recognize faces and then connect those faces to users’ social networking profiles, allowing you to friend and follow the people you see. The company emerged from November’s Startup Weekend in Brazil, but hasn’t yet launched publicly.
The project reminds me a lot of Recognizr, the facial recognition mobile app from The Astonishing Tribe (TAT), created prior to TAT’s acquisition by RIM. Sadly, Recognizr remained a conceptual demo app only – it never arrived in any mobile app store. Hopefully Faced.me won’t meet the same fate.
The app’s strategy and development team includes Alexandre Resende, Thalis Antunes, Fernando Pauer, Pedro Saad, and Marco Vanossi, who previously created ClickPic, a photo-sharing app that also uses image recognition. Thiago Teodoro, a manager in the Corporate Strategy division at HP, is also helping advise the startup.
According to the company’s investor pitch, the Faced.me app uses proprietary technology to recognize a person’s face in less than 1 second by identifying different facial points. It then matches those faces to the social networking accounts for that user, allowing you to friend them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn. Patents on the tech have been filed both locally and internationally through the PCT.
For now, the company can only identify the faces of other registered Faced.me users, who are required to provide a photo or video upon signup. But Vanossi says the technology itself is already scalable enough to crawl the photos tagged on Facebook, it just needs additional investment to afford doing so.
The startup was chosen as the best by the Startup Weekend judges. However, the judges, who included Dave McClure of 500 Startups, Haroldo Korte of Atomico Ventures and other top Brazilian VC’s, gave Faced.me second place because it was clear the team had been working on the technology ahead of the weekend hackathon.
Unfortunately for those of us who don’t mind a little creepiness, most companies involved in the facial recognition space limit the use of the tech to tagging photos, not recognizing strangers. Google is rumored to have its own facial recognition technology developed, for example, but has held off on launching due to the ever-problematic “creepy” factor.
Whatever. Creepy can be cool, you know – just ask Facebook. In any event, the lack of other players in this space (TAT was scooped up by RIM, Polar Rose by Apple, PittPatt by Google) has left a great big hole startups can fill if they have the guts to cross the creepy line.
Now, let’s just hope the darned thing from Faced.me actually works if and when it arrives.
Below, a demo video of the app in action this past weekend: